The best novels framed around music and seen through the eyes of a musician

Barbara Linn Probst Author Of The Sound Between the Notes
By Barbara Linn Probst

Who am I?

I’m often asked: “Are you a musician? You must be, in order to write so beautifully and convincingly, through the eyes of a musician!” Actually, I’m what’s known as a “serious amateur”—which means that I study the piano “seriously” but not professionally, purely for the love of it. In fact, my understanding of the piano deepened tremendously as I worked on this book, as if my protagonist required that of me, in order to bring her to life the way she needed.  The piano has become more and more vital to me, as a writer, because it allows me to explore and express in ways that don’t depend on words. 

I wrote...

The Sound Between the Notes

By Barbara Linn Probst,

Book cover of The Sound Between the Notes

What is my book about?

What if you had a second chance at the very thing you thought you’d renounced forever? How high a price would you be willing to pay?

Susannah put her career as a pianist on hold for sixteen years and didn’t look back. But now, suddenly, she has a chance to vault into that elite tier of “chosen” musicians. There’s just one problem: somewhere along the way, she lost the power and the magic that used to be hers at the keyboard. She needs to get them back—fast. As her now-or-never concert draws near, Susannah is catapulted back to memories she’s never been able to purge—and forward, to the country-and-western sister she’s never known, and choices she never thought she’d have to make. 

The books I picked & why

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The Lost Concerto

By Helaine Mario,

Book cover of The Lost Concerto

Why this book?

In The Lost Concerto a woman has set aside her career as a classical pianist, for deeply personal reasons—then finds herself not only reclaiming her music, but also finding answers to a past mystery as well as new connections in the present. Both novels are about loss, love, and the power of music to lift and heal us. What makes The Lost Concerto especially appealing is its cross-genre blend of suspense, intrigue, stolen art, and the journey from vengeance to courage. You won’t be able to put it down!

Everything You Are

By Kerry Anne King,

Book cover of Everything You Are

Why this book?

In Everything You Are, Braden is a cellist who has lost the use of his hands—in his case, through a tragic twist of fate. Enter Ophelia, granddaughter of the man who sold Branden his cello and made Ophelia swear that he will always play it. Author Kerry Anne King weaves a magical spell around these two characters as, together, they find their way to forgiveness. This is a story full of twists and turns, culminating in a beautiful ending that depicts the healing power of music.

The Weight of a Piano

By Chris Cander,

Book cover of The Weight of a Piano

Why this book?

The Weight of a Piano is about Clara, a young woman desperate to find her own path—freedom, identity, and connection—but it is also the story of an actual piano, as if the piano were a character, and how that piano has shaped the lives of its owners. Clara is haunted by a past she doesn’t understand, and by an unexpected hand injury that changes the course of her life. There are no easy answers in Cander’s book, and an ending you won’t see coming. Truly an original novel that will linger in your heart and mind for a long time.

The Violin Conspiracy

By Brendan Slocumb,

Book cover of The Violin Conspiracy

Why this book?

The Violin Conspiracy is about a talented young violinist, determined to become a world-class professional musician—despite all the obstacles, including poverty and racism. The plot centers around a do-or-die competition that will not only prove Ray’s worth to the world, but also to himself. With its intense depiction of the cutthroat musical world and an underdog the reader will root for, along with the high-stakes drama of a priceless stolen Stradivarius, The Violin Conspiracy blends the best of multiple genres. 

An Equal Music

By Vikram Seth,

Book cover of An Equal Music

Why this book?

An Equal Music is the lyrical, unforgettable story of a violinist’s determination to reclaim not only his music, but the pianist he loved and lost years ago. Suspenseful, atmospheric, and deeply romantic, it sweeps the reader on a journey through Venice and Vienna, offering a unique view of how a musical quartet works together. There is a secret disease that threatens the very heart of the music—and a poignant, courageous depiction of how that is faced. Written in 2000, An Equal Music is a one-of-a-kind book that will be read for decades to come.

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